Global Leadership Speaker and Premier Work-Life Balance Speaker
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Archive for April 2015

The Rules of Performance

Here are the rules of performance for your career:

• Do your absolute best work on everything you are asked to do, from the simples tassignment to the most complicated.

• Be willing to take on tough assignments.

• Overdeliver. Overdeliver. Overdeliver.

• It is a mistake to wait for the “big project.” The way to get the big project is by doing a lot of small ones very well.

• Evaluate your progress and be flexible. It is dangerous to get so committed to what you are doing that you stop evaluating whether you are moving in the right direction.

• Don’t hesitate to raise your hand. There are opportunities to broaden your skills base and be seen as a real contributor because you are willing to say yes.

• Any leader is glad to have somebody willing to take on more so they don’t have to hire more people.

• Understand the expectations and what success looks like for every assignment, and make sure everybody who evaluates you understands what you are going to

• Don’t compete against your peers—compete against a standard. Do what differ- entiates you against the standard for excellence. Judge yourself against the very best you can be.

• Perform. Perform better than anybody else.

• Ask others for help.

• When others try to help you, don’t be stubborn. Listen to them. Take the help if it will move you toward your goal.

• Keep your end goal in mind at all times.

• Know that there are always multiple ways to solve a single problem.

• When you are struggling, change your game. Win by playing a different strategy.

• Learn the business model: Build trust, communicate, create alignment with goals, find the sweet spot, know how you will grow the other person’s career or business, execute and follow up.

Less Money Means More Life

This week, enjoy excerpts from best-selling, Oprah-featured author Fawn Germer’s new book, Work-Life Reset, which shows how to reset to end what’s not working in your life. Order here.

Less Money Means More Life

The morning my friend Cindy Shaw and I met Helene Brien and Luc Parent.

I met Helene Brien and Luc Parent at sunrise over Horseshoe Canyon near Moab, Utah. The French-Canadian couple retired in their fifties — ten years earlier than they planned. They sold their home, downsizing into a fifth wheel trailer, and then the passionate nature pho­tographers hit the road. They were starting their new life by spending a year traveling throughout the United States. “I decided less money means more life,” Luc told me.

I was so moved by what he said, I logged it in my iPhone.

Need less, live more.

I have been following their adventure on Facebook, mesmerized by their photographs. They are filling their lives with so much living. I sent a note telling them I wanted to share their story, and Luc shared something else that is just as potent.

“Someone explained to me that, if after one year of work, you are at the same point budget-wise and you did not make any change in your life, you’ve lost a year. It made me think, and it made me decide to make changes.”

So status quo is a net loss.

Plenty of people work so hard just to maintain their current standard of living that they have little time to live large.

Helene said her early retirement cut her annual income in half for the ten years she could have continued working. But what if she’d waited? She thought a lot about it. If she delayed her big adventure, would she have had the health and vitality to dive into her dreams?

“My answer was no,” she said. “It is now that I have the energy and opportunity to enjoy this, and this will allow me to have lasting memories for the rest of my life.”

Order inspiring author and keynote speaker Fawn Germer’s new book, Work-Life Reset here.

Open Yourself to Happy

I can give all the tips and shortcuts in the world, but unless you make up your mind to live a meaningful, happy life, you aren’t going to be happy. Unless you look inside of yourself and see someone who is worthy and wonderful, your subconscious won’t accept that you de­serve to be happy. Unless you open yourself up to it, it’s not going to happen. You need to open yourself to happy!

It is so simple to do, but so few people make that conscious choice. They feel happiness when it shines on them, but there are a lot of times when it isn’t shining.

Is there some secret to making the sun shine?

Yes. It’s not all that hard, once you open yourself up to it. And to those cynics who ridicule happy talk, I get the cynicism. As a former investigative reporter, I used to live with cynicism and negativity because most of what we did was point out what was wrong with the world and occasionally present a way to make it right. It was important work that helped to change the status quo, prompt new laws, and change lives, but everything was always viewed through a negative, critical, cynical filter.

Most people live in a world that is generally overcast. It is so part of the norm these days, and it’s hard to escape. Believe me, before I chose to lead a happy life many years ago, I lived in an overcast world.

Eventually, I found that I really had the power to send the clouds away. I very seriously and deliberately made up my mind that I was going to be happy and poof! I was happy. In those times when the skies darken and bad things happen, that seed of optimism carries me through. Better days are coming.

You have the same right to be happy as anyone else. From a spiritual perspective, you are just as important to this world as your boss, your CEO, and the president of the United States. God loves you every bit as much as anybody else and wants for you to be happy and fulfilled on your terms. It does not matter how wealthy, educated, successful, gregarious, connected, or popular you are. It doesn’t matter what you look like or how beautifully you present yourself. You get the same chance at happiness as the next person.

But whether you achieve it or not is completely up to you.

Work-Life Reset This week, enjoy excerpts from best-selling, Oprah-featured author Fawn Germer’s new book,  Work-Life Reset, which shows how to reset to end what’s not working in your life. 

 Order inspiring author and keynote speaker Fawn Germer’s new book, Work-Life Reset here.

Your Definition of Success


What is your definition of success? Kathy Casey sure had it. She had an extremely high-profile job as Vice President/General Manager at the Kellogg Company, responsible for a $2 billion budget and a team of hundreds. She traveled more than 100,000 miles a year. She was visible and rac­ing on the fast track.

But something wasn’t right.

“Unconsciously, I’d started making choices to put my career first,” she said. “I missed my Grandma’s funeral for a meeting and worked to the point that it impacted my health and my relationships with those that I love. I was focused on chasing the next job, the next title, the next challenge. It’s an addiction.”

She missed her son’s first birthday, celebrating it instead on a different day. She told herself it didn’t really matter. He was a baby and he wouldn’t know the difference. But she did.

“I started to not like who I saw in the mirror,” she said.

She’d always been poised for that kind of success. Her mother used to joke that Kathy, the middle child, started working on her resume when she was six. She started counting the lunch money in kindergarten, winning the spelling bee, getting involved in student government, and being editor-in-chief of the school paper.

That kind of Type A mindset made her a natural for the executive ranks, but once she was in them, something was very wrong. The sense that there was so much more to life than what she was experiencing led her to do something drastic.

“At some point, I recognized I was starting to resent other peoples’ lives. I was envious of people who had time for themselves and their families. I wanted more freedom and flexibility.”

She reset.

She said no to two promotions that required extensive commuting or relocation. She requested a less demanding assignment that reduced her stress and gave her more time at home.

She is still a VP of Sales for Kellogg, but her job does not carry nearly the same responsibility or stature.

“Now my role is smaller in scope. It was a decision that said I no longer wanted a bigger job.”

She took herself off the fast track.

“I stopped chasing the rainbow with the missing pot of gold,” she said.“What is interesting is that, with a redefined set of life boundaries, I am doing some of my best work yet.”

And she likes who she is.

“What matters to me now is that I am there when people need me,” she said.

When my mom and dad died, Kathy made an effort to call me. Every single day.

“I am significantly happier and I am more present in my daily life,” she told me. “I have more energy to give back. I think that a lot of people think, ‘One more job, one more raise, one more level — then I’ll get there. Then I’ll be happy.’ But you are working more and having more stress and your life isn’t any richer because of it.”

The choices you make about how you spend your time and energy are choices with real consequences.

“If it feels bad, you probably made the wrong decision. Redefine success,” she said.

Work-Life Reset  This week, enjoy excerpts from best-selling, Oprah-featured author Fawn Germer’s new book,    Work-Life Reset, which shows how to reset to end what’s not working in your life. 

 Order inspiring author and keynote speaker Fawn Germer’s new book, Work-Life Reset here.

The “As Soon As” Trap

Work-Life Reset
Have you fallen into the “as soon as” trap?

As soon as you lose 15 pounds …

As soon as you finish your degree …

As soon as you can afford to …

As soon as the kids are old enough to be left alone …

As soon as you retire …

What if “as soon as” never comes? Why sacrifice a day or a week or a month or a year trying to get through one ordeal and the next and the one after that, delaying happiness until things settle down? Life is chaotic. There will always be some new lesson thrown at you that will grow you — but also distract you. There is always a challenge.

I was showing my doctor pictures from a weekend kayaking trip. She looked wistfully off into space and said, “One day, when I have a life again …”

“Seriously?” I asked her. “You have to wait to have a life?”

“I have a life,” she said. “My kids and my patients.”

That is a lot of life.

But if she doesn’t keep a sliver of life just for herself, she’ll lose her identity to her obligations. If she doesn’t live life now, then she may never get the chance.

What do you wish you could do in life? And what are you waiting for?

A lot of people postpone living until things are just right. As if there will be a moment when everything is in order.

Things are never “just right” for long. Everything will be in order for a few hours or maybe a day, and then something will happen that will remind you that the only real order in life is disorder.

When you have a problem, you have a natural desire to know that everything will work out fine. You crave the certainty and comfort of resolution. When you get it, you relax. But guess what? It won’t be long before another problem presents itself. That is how life unfolds. Who gets a stress-free ride with no adversity?

It would be nice. But it would also be pretty boring.

There was a time when everything was perfect in my life. It was a very short time — just one night in 1990 when I was in my 20s. I slept so well that night! But life intruded the next morning, and I learned something important: You have a lot less stress when you stop stressing about this thing or that thing that could be better.

Work-Life Reset This week, enjoy excerpts from best-selling, Oprah-featured author Fawn Germer’s new book,  Work-Life Reset, which shows how to reset to end what’s not working in your life.

 Order inspiring author and keynote speaker Fawn Germer’s new book, Work-Life Reset here.

The Courage to Walk Your Path

The Courage to Walk Your Path

Deep down inside. Ask yourself, what is your biggest dream? What is your passion? Who do you want to BE? It takes self-awareness to know your path, and a reset can help draw it out of you. But, do you have the courage to walk your path?

Once you figure out your path — which is really an ongoing journey of discovery — it takes real courage to keep walking. You will encounter distractions that pull you off course and obstacles that force you to defend your dream.

If you have been blessed with a dream, embrace it. Commit to it.

Imagine what Jeremy Fron faced, and the courage it took for him to leave Grand Rapids, Michigan and head to Alaska to be a fisherman. Everything fell apart the minute he got there. But he was called to live his fisherman dream, and doing that meant he had to fight for that privilege over and over again.

At age 20, he posted an online ad seeking work as a fisherman in Alaska. He got the call, paid his $800 airfare, and arrived on a frigid January day with less than $300 in his pocket.

The owner of the boat said he needed to put $1,000 worth of gas on Jeremy’s credit card, but Jeremy started meeting people on the docks who told him that he was being scammed. He shouldn’t be buying the gas, and he shouldn’t have had to pay for his airfare, gear, or expenses.

He asked the boss what was going on, and the man kicked him off the boat.

Broke. Freezing. Alone.

“You can do the most when you are forced to do the most,” he said. “When you are up against it — that is the moment you have to try your hardest. You don’t have the option of giving up.”

He found a very cheap room to rent and earned his keep by painting, shoveling snow, and chopping firewood.

“I am not college material. I knew I couldn’t give up — I had to do it. That is where my courage came from. I used my towel as a towel, and my towel as a blanket. I was eating Ramen noodles.”

Soon, he was fishing. The more he fished, the more he fished. His name got out there, and he was working every season — crab, long line, and salmon — throughout Southeast Alaska. He tells harrowing stories, like the boat starting to sink out in Dutch Harbor in the middle of January as 20-foot waves crashed into it. (The crew fought back and finally won with huge bilge pumps.) Then there was the time he fell overboard in 33-degree water when the air temperature was below zero. He was rescued just as his limbs stopped working. “Ten seconds longer and I’d have gone under.”

He loves those stories because he is so passionately doing the work he loves.

He’s done well. He owns two Florida homes, and he is only 26. He fishes the summer months in Alaska and flips houses in Florida the rest of the year.

“It is not a job,” he said. “No fisherman does it for a job. It’s a lifestyle. If we did it for a job, we’d hate it.”

His story — and several others I will share here — show why you have to know your path and dare to honor it. Even when it is uncomfortable.

Work-Life Reset This week, enjoy excerpts from best-selling, Oprah-featured author Fawn Germer’s new book,  Work-Life Reset, which shows how to reset to end what’s not working in your life. Order here.

Take Back Your Life and Reset

Work-Life ResetIf you wake up knowing that today is going to wind up looking the same as yesterday — and you’re tired of it — do something. Get out of your rut. Take back your life and reset.

A reset is a fantastic tool for climbing out of darkness, but it is also the only tool for balancing a lopsided life. You can try to tweak this or that in an effort to achieve some sort of life harmony, but a reset marks the beginning of the new life you are claiming for yourself.

Is it time?

Do you feel guilty because you don’t have the time to be there for the people who love or need you? Frustrated because you don’t have ten minutes to yourself? Foggy because your brain is stretched so thin that you have little to offer in terms of creativity or humor?

Do you need to call in sick just to catch your breath? Have you been ignoring your physical health? Do you have a huge bucket list of the things you really want to do someday? Do you use all of your vacation? Do you use it to do the things you enjoy most? Do you work while you are on vacation?

Well, good grief. Reset.
Do you work for people who are so demanding it’s hard to have a life and a career? Are you so personally consumed by work that you sacrifice time with your loved ones to do things for work? Are you envious of people who manage to have both a life and a career?

Take back your life. Reset.

Are you checking your work e-mails when you go home at night? More than once? More than twice? More than three times?

Knock it off! Reset.

Is your life lacking meaning and purpose? Are you honoring your values with your time, or sacrificing your time to things you don’t really value?

Well, guess what?

Today you are one day closer to your death. You don’t get a do-over on life, so make the choice to live right now.

You deserve a harmonious, fun, full life filled with adventure and love, challenge and purpose. But if you are like so many people caught up in the crazy demands of an insanely paced world, you aren’t in balance.

I don’t really like the word “balance” because life teeters all the time between our different callings. Still, “work-life balance” remains the catch-phrase for people who want to successfully work and have a life, so I use the term.

Life is always a little out of whack. The stars do not align themselves to make things nice and easy for you. Sometimes it’s as if the universe is deliberately throwing too much at you.

As if it is forcing you to choose.

It’s not about balance. It’s about choices.


Work-Life Reset This week, enjoy excerpts from best-selling, Oprah-featured author Fawn Germer’s new book,  Work-Life Reset, which shows how to reset to end what’s not working in your life. 

 Order inspiring author and keynote speaker Fawn Germer’s new book, Work-Life Reset here.

Work-Life Reset

Work-Life Reset

This week, Boulevard Books releases bestselling author Fawn Germer’s, Work-Life Reset, which shows how to hit the reset button to end what isn’t working for you in your life. Oprah called Fawn’s work “very inspiring” and Work-Life Reset proves why.  Whether you are struggling with tough times, work-life balance, or a mindset that needs rebooting, you always have the option of hitting the reset button.


Choosing Clarity for Life Balance

When I’m speaking onstage, I’ll often use a Power­Point slide of an old movie still of a woman on her deathbed.  She says, “Okay, I only have a few more minutes, so let’s review the budget for the next fiscal year…” Everybody always laughs at it because what kind of a nut-pot would think of something so meaningless on his or her deathbed? Yet we sacrifice so many days in our young, healthy years obsessing about things that, in the end, won’t matter at all. Are you spending your time on what matters most? Are you choosing clarity for life balance?

If not, reset.

Of course, we all have certain obligations that we have to fulfill in order to live the lives we want to live. But these are secondary to what is really important in life. You can enjoy your work, you can enjoy your possessions, but look at your life by looking at your day. When you reach the end of the day, ask yourself if there was any newness to it, any learning, any love, any energy, any movement.

So many people don’t get that clarity until it’s too late to do anything about it. You can decide to have that awareness right now.


Work-Life Reset This week, enjoy excerpts from best-selling, Oprah-featured author Fawn Germer’s  new book, Work-Life Reset, which shows how to reset to end what’s not working in  your life. 

 Order inspiring author and keynote speaker Fawn Germer’s new book, Work-Life Reset here.

Promote Yourself, and the Raise Will Come

Make conscious decisions to advance yourself without waiting to be advanced. Numerous leaders told me they get a bad taste in their mouth when they hear someone coming right out and asking for a promotion or a raise. Promote yourself, and the raise will come. You do that by raising your hand and taking on challenges that expand your value to the company and showcase the breadth of your experience and abilities. If you are constantly taking on more responsibility, the promotion or raise should come. If it doesn’t, you should talk to your boss and say, “What else can I be doing in order to advance to the next level?” Then do it.

Oh, and don’t forget the most important thing. Make sure you advertise your performance. There are all these different terms for it. Market yourself. Self-promote. Toot your own horn. Whatever. What good is stellar performance if you are the only one who knows about it?

Okay, let me repeat that again. Don’t assume your excellent work will be noticed. Bosses are busy. They have a lot of things to worry about. Their attention generally goes to what they are worrying about, instead of the things that are going well. They might notice what you are doing, but they might also forget it as soon as something bad distracts their attention. They aren’t keeping running lists of all your accomplishments that they can review before they sleep at night just so they can feel good about the world.

Procter & Gamble’s Maria Edelson gives some especially insightful advice about how to put the word out there, and numerous women will tell you why it is so critical that you do it. Accept it. As uncomfortable as it may feel to show how great you are, you must develop the talent. I liked Kathy Hannan’s story, which showed how her failure to self-promote left a window wide open for a less diligent, less able, less deserving    co-worker to claim credit for what she was doing.

Performance alone will not make you the CEO. But you will not become the CEO without CEO-worthy performance. And you do belong at the highest level if you think you do.

We assume that people at the top are more naturally brilliant and possess far greater brainpower than the rest of us folks, but Broader says that assumption is just plain wrong. Granted, it may be easier for some people to operate in that realm than others, but we do have far more control over our own destiny than we acknowledge. And we can exercise that control by making the decision to perform, learn, and deliver results.

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